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10 Must Reads for the CRE Industry Today (March 25, 2020)

Banks are finding themselves unable to sell debt from recent deals in the CMBS market, reports the Wall Street Journal. Commercial Observer looks at how construction workers can keep safe. These are among today’s must reads from around the commercial real estate industry.

  1. Guns, Groceries and News: What Sells in a Pandemic—and Doesn’t “A Wall Street Journal analysis of high-frequency data from a range of U.S. industries showed sharp declines in spending on hotels, restaurants, airlines and other travel, while spending boomed in other areas including groceries, general merchandise stores, gun and ammunition shops and marijuana suppliers. Mortgage applications surged as interest rates dropped, new car sales in many cities fell and consumers quickly grew reluctant to buy big-ticket household items.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  2. Neiman Marcus Weighs Bankruptcy as Debt, Store Closures Slam Retailer “Neiman Marcus is reportedly considering bankruptcy as the luxury retailer wrestles with massive debts and coronavirus-related store closures. The Dallas-based company is in discussions with lenders about filing for bankruptcy, which could allow it to keep operating and reduce its debts while it works to cut costs.” (New York Post)
  3. Citi Could Be Stuck with Troubled Casino Loan as Mortgage Market Seizes Up “The market for issuing securities backed by commercial mortgages has frozen up, leaving some of the biggest names on Wall Street stuck with billions of dollars of loans that are rapidly deteriorating in value. This market usually enables lenders to owners of offices, hotels and other commercial buildings to unload their debt into a financial market and reduce their exposure. But it has stopped functioning properly since the novel coronavirus pandemic caused financial markets to go into a tailspin.” (Wall Street Journal, subscription required)
  4. Construction Workers’ Safety in the Age of Coronavirus “The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting the way we live, the way we work, and our expectations for the future, and that is no different for New York City’s construction industry.” (Commercial Observer)
  5. Coronavirus Recession? What It Would Mean for Real Estate “There might have been some question whether the coronavirus would lead the US into a recession, but the hoarding of toilet paper makes me think it's certain. Not because we'll run out of toilet paper - the US and Canada produce volumes of it - but because hoarding means consumers are really worried and are changing their spending behavior. That won't just flip back in a few months.” (Forbes)
  6. Global Investor Barry Sternlicht: Trump ‘Kind of Right’ on Wanting to Get U.S. Back to Work Soon “Barry Sternlicht, founder of investment firm Starwood Capital, told CNBC on Tuesday he supports President Donald Trump’s desire to get America working again soon. Trump is ‘kind of right’ that the U.S. economy can’t remain virtually shut down forever because of the coronavirus crisis, Sternlicht said in a ‘Squawk Box’ interview. ‘We don’t have enough money to fix’ the economy if it were to die.” (CNBC)
  7. Las Vegas, Devastated by the 2008 Economic Crash, Struggles with Coronavirus Shutdown “It was just two weeks ago that Las Vegas native Carlos Rosales, Jr. told his cousin that business at his new barbershop was doing so well that he was considering hiring a third apprentice. After living through nearly a decade of financial uncertainty following the 2008 economic crash, the military veteran felt optimistic again. But that feeling evaporated last week when Rosales closed the barbershop following a statewide shutdown of non-essential businesses in an effort to contain the deadly coronavirus.” (Los Angeles Times)
  8. We Are Not Seeking a Corporate Bailout: International Council of Shopping Centers CEO “CNBC’s ‘Squawk on the Street’ team talks with Tom McGee, president and CEO of the International Council of Shopping Centers, to discuss small business protection amid the coronavirus pandemic stifling the U.S. economy.” (CNBC)
  9. Coronavirus Fallout for North American CRE Firms to Vary “North America’s highest-rated commercial real estate companies probably won’t have to shutter their doors due to fallout from the coronavirus, but a great percentage will have to brace for setbacks, according to new commentary from DBRS Morningstar. In the commentary, entitled The Impact of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) on REITs and CRE Companies in Canada and the U.S., the credit ratings agency notes that there are many variables at play.” (Commercial Property Executive)
  10. Bohemian or Business: Identities Collide in Miami’s Coconut Grove “With its profusion of parks and shade trees, Coconut Grove is celebrated for being one of the greenest parts of sun-baked Miami. It has some of the best schools in the city, drawing students from all over the metropolitan area. And it has long been a magnet for artists, writers and musicians who have given the neighborhood a bohemian vibe. But lately, Coconut Grove has become known for yet another thing: a real estate boom.” (The New York Times)
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